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30 Aug

Moderation and Temperance

Letters from a Pastor to His People- August 30, 2020

Dear Parishioners,

When I first started seminary in the fall of 2007 right after graduating college, I remember going to the gym downstairs in the seminary basement to work out. On the wall by the bench press was this quote from today's second reading: "offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God, your spiritual worship" (Romans 12:1).

Yo, bro, you lift?

I heard Jesus say that to me. Just kidding.

30 Aug

Gospel August 30, 2020

The First Reading is from the Prophet Jeremiah. This reading is part of Jeremiah’s well-known complaint. Jeremiah didn't want to be a prophet, a spokesperson for God; but God chose him. That fidelity to his vocation to prophesy for the Lord makes him miserable. The king and priests reject his pleas for conversion and declare unpatriotic his announcements of the fall of Judah to the Babylonians. Jeremiah does not enjoy being the “object of laughter” and having “everyone mock him.” 

23 Aug

St. Peter

Letters from a Pastor to His People- August 23, 2020

I love Saint Peter. He has to be my favorite saint. I know I joke with the daily Mass crowd often in my homilies about how I have hundreds of "favorite saints"; how my "top five" list of saints contains about 50. But this I really mean, and I really mean that. Beside the Blessed Mother, Saint Peter is my favorite. The kids in school often ask me who my favorite saint is, and my response is always Peter.

23 Aug

Gospel August 23, 2020

The first reading, taken from Isaiah, gives a detailed description of the investiture of a royal court official. The robe, the sash, and the keys are insignia of this office. The Lord God, through Isaiah, tells Shebna who supports Israel’s military alliance with one pagan nation (Egypt) against another (Assyria) that the keys of authority will be taken away from him, the unfaithful, proud “master of the royal palace.”

22 Aug

Queenship of Mary

The Story of the Queenship of Mary

Pope Pius XII established this feast in 1954. But Mary’s queenship has roots in Scripture. At the Annunciation, Gabriel announced that Mary’s Son would receive the throne of David and rule forever. At the Visitation, Elizabeth calls Mary “mother of my Lord.” As in all the mysteries of Mary’s life, she is closely associated with Jesus: Her queenship is a share in Jesus’ kingship. We can also recall that in the Old Testament the mother of the king has great influence in court.

In the fourth century Saint Ephrem called Mary “Lady” and “Queen.” Later Church fathers and doctors continued to use the title. Hymns of the 11th to 13th centuries address Mary as queen: “Hail, Holy Queen,” “Hail, Queen of Heaven,” “Queen of Heaven.” The Dominican rosary and the Franciscan crown as well as numerous invocations in Mary’s litany celebrate her queenship.

The feast is a logical follow-up to the Assumption, and is now celebrated on the octave day of that feast. In his 1954 encyclical To the Queen of Heaven, Pius XII points out that Mary deserves the title because she is Mother of God, because she is closely associated as the New Eve with Jesus’ redemptive work, because of her preeminent perfection, and because of her intercessory power.

16 Aug

The Canaanite Women

 

Letters from a Pastor to His People- August 16, 2020

Dear Parishioners,

Have you asked or hoped for something recently and not received? Then you are in company with the Canaanite woman from the Gospel.

Let me quote at length words from Fr. Raniero Cantalamessa, who is the preacher of the papal household.

16 Aug

Gospel, August 16, 2020

The First Reading is from the Book of the Prophet Isaiah. As Isaiah writes these words in chapters 56-66 during the post-exilic period of Israel’s history (their exile in Babylon, 587-540 B.C.E.), there are lots of foreigners living in Israel. Many Jews, including the leaders, consider such people as outsiders and resist their joining in the worship services even though they are willing to accept the God of Israel and follow his ways. Isaiah challenges such a parochial and narrow mentality. Therefore, the prophet is telling everyone that God accepts all those who are willing to follow God's laws with sincerity and purity of heart. Non-Jews must “love the name of the Lord, become his servants, observe Sabbath, hold to God’s covenant,” then they must be welcomed into God’s house of prayer for ‘God’s house is for all peoples.’”

09 Aug

The Order of Elijah

Letters from a Pastor to His People- August 9, 2020

Dear Parishioners,

One cannot think of Elijah without thinking about the Blessed Virgin Mary. Elijah was the first contemplative monk. He lived atop Mount Carmel in prayer and asceticism. He drew others to follow him. It was said when he prophesied rain to relieve Israel in the midst of a terrible drought, he saw a cloud in the shape of a foot rising from the sea. He understood this as the sign that the drought would end, but more importantly that the Messiah would come. Elijah saw this foot as the foot of the Virgin Woman, who would be the mother of the Messiah. She, the immaculate cloud, would rise from the blue sea of humanity.

09 Aug

Gospel August 9, 2020

The First Reading is from the first Book of Kings. Elijah triumphed over the prophets of Baal, a prominent pagan god, by challenging them to call fire down from heaven upon their altar. But their gods did not answer. After that, Elijah erected an altar and the one, true God answered and consumed it with fire. Elijah then had all the prophets of Baal killed. The king of Israel Ahab along with his wife Jezebel were angry with what Elijah did to the prophets of Baal. As a result, Jezebel sought to have Elijah killed. When Elijah went to the desert he was fleeing for his life.

02 Aug

When In Trouble, Run To God!

Letters from a Pastor to His People- August 2, 2020

Dear Parishioners,

To quote Michael Jordan, "I'm back."  (No, I'm not comparing myself to Michael Jordan.  If anything I'm like Jud Buechler...at best--no disrespect to Jud.) I have returned from my 30-Day silent retreat.  Thank you all for your understanding and support, and thank you especially to Father Emanuel and the parish staff who kept the place running.

            Speaking of staff, I would like to welcome again the new principal of Saint Juliana School, Ms. Cathie Scotkovsky.  Cathie started July 1st and has been hard at work getting ready for the new school year.  She is an SJS alum herself and we are very excited for her leadership of our school!